The Volkswagen diesel scandal was driven by carbon obsession

One-eyed environmental policy created the conditions for this fraud – and other damaging problems

3 October 2015

8:00 AM

3 October 2015

8:00 AM

What fun it is watching again all those smug Volkswagen ads on YouTube, featuring men in mid-life crisis revving up their Golfs and Passats. German carmakers vie with French farmers for their sacred status in the European Union. That it has taken US authorities to sniff out the company’s cheating on emissions tests doesn’t say much for European environmental law, which is good at telling us we can only have low-powered kettles, but apparently unable to sniff out high emissions from overpowered diesel cars.

But the VW scandal isn’t just a story of corporate turpitude. It is part-product of an environmental policy in Britain as much as across the EU which has become fixated on carbon emissions to the exclusion of virtually everything else. Diesels have grown to account for just under half the UK car market thanks to changes the Blair government made to vehicle excise duty. From 2001, punitive rates of up to £500 were applied to cars which emit carbon emissions of more than 225g/km, while cars below 120 g/km were treated to token road-tax rates. As manufacturers quickly discovered, the only way to get many vehicles below these thresholds was to make them diesel.

It was well known that diesel engines produced large amounts of tiny carcinogenic soot particles, but this was brushed over. Particulate emissions were meant to be dealt with by filters, yet these are known to become blocked if engines spend too much time idling, as they do on urban roads. Diesels also produce far higher levels of nitrogen oxides, the subject of the VW scandal.

But the problem doesn’t end with diesel engines. Take wood-burning. That wood-combustion emits large quantities of soot particles was not lost on the authors of the 1956 Clean Air Act, passed to prevent a repeat of the deadly London smog of four years earlier. Wood fires were banned in smokeless zones along with coal fires. Burning wood also releases nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. Yet come the advent of climate change, and emissions from wood-burning have been forgotten. Far from being banished, wood-burning is now actively encouraged through a scheme known as the Renewable Heat Incentive, which lets owners of pellet stoves and boilers claim thousands of pounds of subsidies a year.

Burning biomass pellets made from wood and other vegetable matter is not so polluting as an open wood fire: stoves operate at higher temperatures and combustion is therefore more efficient. But they are hardly ‘clean’ energy. According to one Portuguese study, pellet stoves were found to emit half to two thirds as much soot as wood fires. A study of air pollution in British cities by King’s College London found that wood and pellet stoves account for 13 per cent of particulate pollution in some cities.

On a larger scale, coal-fired power stations have been incentivised to switch to burning wood pellets. The country’s largest coal power station, at Drax in Yorkshire, is gradually converting all its burners to run on wood pellets. The incentives were based on the conceit that burning wood is carbon-neutral, because it releases into the atmosphere only carbon dioxide recently sucked from the air by growing trees. That ignores something important: growing and harvesting trees, as well as manufacturing wood pellets and getting them to a power station, consumes large quantities of fossil fuels.

When the Department for Energy and Climate Change eventually did the calculations, the results were shocking. As Britain consumed 4.6 million tonnes of pellets last year but only produced 0.3 million tonnes from our own forests, the vast bulk must be imported, mostly from North America. For every MWh of electricity generated by burning wood pellets it turned out that between 0.16 MWh and 0.96 MWh of energy was being consumed in making and transporting the pellets. Nearly as much fossil fuel was being consumed as ‘renewable’ energy produced. We might as well have burnt coal and generated electricity from that.

Whether burning pellets reduces carbon emissions depends on what would otherwise happen to the wood from which they were made. If the pellets come from sawdust or fallen trees that would have been burnt by US foresters, it makes sense from the point of view of carbon emissions to burn them for energy. But if the trees would have been allowed to decompose where they fell in a Canadian forest, rotting slowly or turning to peat, it makes no sense at all.

It is an obsession with carbon emissions, too, that has driven policy on biofuels. Again, it makes sense from an environmental point of view to burn agricultural waste to produce energy. It is another matter to produce biofuels on a scale that requires the deforestation of land on which to grow them. Wind turbines, too, have been incentivised with little regard to other environmental problems. It emerged this week that gannet populations off Scotland face decimation from a new offshore windfarm close to their breeding grounds because they fly at a height above that of the lowest tips of the blades.

Then there is nuclear power. Remember the ‘Nuclear power: no thanks’ stickers that were the trademark of greens in the 1970s? The problems of nuclear energy have not gone away. We still have the issue of how to secure nuclear waste which will take thousands of years to decompose. And while nuclear power in Britain has an excellent safety record, no government has explained how we would deal with the economic cost of a serious disaster like the one that struck the Fukushima plant in Japan after the 2011 tsunami. Nuclear power is one thing in remote locations; quite another in highly developed ones. If the same 18-mile exclusion zone had to be set up around Hinkley Point as around Fukushima, we would have to evacuate Bridgewater,Weston-super-Mare, Taunton and several other towns.

Yet the green movement has gone strangely quiet on nuclear power. Anything which reduces carbon emissions they now reckon is good — even if 30 years ago they were trying to tell us nuclear toxicity would give us all cancer. When environmentalism becomes fixated on one thing the loser inevitably turns out to be the environment.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

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Show comments
  • Myke

    Ross makes some good points but this article leads nowhere. Yes, carbon policy is riddled with contradictions. I guess many of them are there because of lobbyists for carbon industries. So, lets close the loopholes – not wallow in the hubristic failure of the policy-makers. What’s your answer, Ross?

    • Caractacus

      Get rid of Drax for one. It’s one of the most environmentally destructive power stations in the world now.

  • Tamerlane

    Does anyone in Britain living a normal life, work, bills, children, school run etc give a flying fig about this? I mean seriously care, lose sleep, whittle down finger nails etc. I don’t think so. This is real first world problem stuff but it’s beyond even that – it’s sanctimonious beardy bicycle riding north London first world stuff. It’s so beyond the reality or concern of people’s lives. And frankly – well done VW for doing to enviro-balls regulation for so long what the rest of us should have been doing too.

  • Caractacus

    Very good article except for nuclear power. It’s more likely that Jeremy Corbyn will turn out to be the reincarnation of Michael Jackson than it is for an Earthquake or Tsunami to hit Hinckley Point. It will take millions of years before Britain gets anywhere near a major fault line again.

  • Peter Stroud

    It is incredible how ideas originating in the Green movement, especially the global warmists, so often increase the level of Carbon emissions, or cause some mini disaster, not predicted by the environmentalists. So, why are politicians so stupid as to base so many of their energy/environmental policies on the poor science inspired by, the so called, Green movement?

    • Molly NooNar

      You are hardly in a position to criticise global warming when your disgraceful testing was flawed and corrupt. I noticed Tories and Labour have been happy to roll out the red carpet and subsidies galore for diesel. Ooops. Greens were right all along about big business and government corruption.

      • Tom M

        I think you are wrong about who is corrupt. I imagine the emissions testing farce went something like this:
        Government official to car manufacturers; we’ve got to get the CO2 from cars down. What can we get down to? Anywhere near the Americans?.
        One of the Car manufacturers at the meeting: we can get it down to *******. None of the other car manufacturers present dare say anything because they know they can’t do that.
        A small voice in the group points out that perhaps CO2 shouldn’t be the issue. What about particulates etc etc.
        Government officicial: Yes yes yes,but we’ve got to do CO2. That’s what all the green acvtivists are going on about. Leave all the other things nobody’s bothering about those.
        When they all get back to base the decide that if THEY can’t do it properly they will have to bend the software to make it all fit the test.
        All because somebody in the Government created a target (in this case an environmetal one) that had to be met. A target created by green activist pressure.
        Any similarity you detect with the effect of Government targets in other Government influenced areas such as NHS isn’t incidental.

    • Phonetoholic

      They aren’t and never have. Next.

      You Americans invented Al Gore, the rest of the world laughed at him then.

      • awesomesauce

        These juveniles can’t remember the times before Al Gore. For some reason these very same juveniles laud the workings of Reagan and Thatcher though. Who will square this circle once and for all?

  • tenbelly

    The greens are barking mad.
    Without the diesel engine the worlds economy would grind to a halt.

    • Molly NooNar

      The subsidies for wind energy are dwarfed by the subsidies for diesel!!

      • The_Common_Potato

        Per MWh generated?

        • Phonetoholic

          Diesel doesn’t generate sensible amounts of MWh, in particular not in a society that is supposedly at the developed end of the human spectrum.

          For every megawatt hour of diesel generation provided under STOR, 10 megawatt hours come from more efficient combined heat and power (CHP) plants.

          • Mr B J Mann

            I think she was referring to the massive subsidies on buses and trains!

          • explain that

            You ‘appear’ to be thick, not even grasping what STOR is. Go away and get an education.

          • Mr B J Mann

            I note you struggled to get your evidence, never mind argument, into that post.

            Perhaps you finally realise it might be an idea to actually go back through what I’d actually been contributing before shooting yourself in the other foot too?!

            Or perhaps you were just too busy curating your collection of bus tickets?!?!

      • Mr B J Mann

        What subsidies?!

        Do you mean for buses and trains?!?!?!!!!!

      • John WB

        More nonsense from a tree hugger.

      • Virtually every item you use and depend on was brought to these shores by a massive ship powered by a giant diesel engine about four to six stories high. They are truly gargantuan, burn tonnes of diesel every hour, but sinc ethey bring tens of thousands of tonnes of goods around the world, they bring your ebay parcel from China with less fuel used per kilo than your bus journey to work. The world would literally grind to a halt without ship’s and truck diesel engines and if you live in Britain, you would begin to starve in a month if they stopped. Why? Because we have far too high a population in the UK to feed ourselves from the land area. If you know any history, you might remember how the U-Boats of WW2 almost starved us by sinking some of the ships which brought our food. Since then, mostly through immigration, we have added another 17 million to our population.

        By the way – there are NO subsidies for diesel. You made that up. It is sold at the market price and taxed to the hilt by government.

        As for wind energy. At this moment, the National Grid is getting only 1.36% of our electricity from wind – great considering the massive subsidy we all pay on our bills for it.

        http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ Real time sources of electric power on the National Grid.

        If you green imbeciles had any idea about engineering you might be worth listening to. As it is you just generate ignorant hot air and can produce NOTHING. Engineers on the other hand, make sure you have power when you flick a switch and can be transported to where you want to go, and fidn food in the shops when you go to them.

  • mɛroʊˈvɪndʒɪən

    I am an engineer and my rule of thumb is simple.
    Emissions are directly proportional to consumption. You know what your car will consume in petrol/diesel I take it, then you will roughly know what it emits.

    A tank emits more than a Hummer emits more than a S Class Mercedes emits more than a Golf emits more than a VW Up emits more than a tricycle.

    It’s is the Westen society’s intention to reduce emissions further than it already has. Go for it.

    • poverty denier

      Exactly, not driven by carbon at all.

      • Migru Ghee

        Are you calling the once great before Ross Clark thick?

        • Mr B J Mann

          Yes, apparently when the greens in these green places, plan a green development for their green citizens: the first thing they plan is a green incinerator for green heat.

          In this backward backwater the greens are still burning straw effigies of the Thatcher in anti incinerator protests?!?!?!!!!!!!

          • irina palm

            Do they? The first thing? Wow.

          • Mr B J Mann

            Yes, you seem rattled and totally bypassed by advances in modern technology, and in modern green thinking, over the past quarter century, dear.

            Just like the rest of the old fashioned environM3ntalists, love!

          • Swarm of Drones

            Mate, if you cared about the planet and your car’s emissions or, and this is important, whatevvva, then you shouldn’t be driving a Range Rover. Get it?

          • Mr B J Mann

            What if it’s the best vehicle for the job?

            What if it’s the only way to get someone with spinal injuries out of somewhere?

            Or the only way to get some important climate change scientific equipment into somewhere?!

            Talking of which, why, when they have climate change conferences, do all the man made global warmers FLY to them?!

            They seem rattled and totally bypassed by advances in modern technology, and in modern green thinking!
            Haven’t they heard of Skype?!?!?
            Or even the phone!!!!!!

          • Migru Ghee

            He doesn’t. Ah well, never mind.

      • You need to take account of the extra food requirement of the cyclist when he pedals his way about the world. I am a keen cyclist, but I need 50 EXTRA calories per mile to enable my pedaling. Since almost every bit of our food depends on quite intensive oil input to plough fields, produce fertiliser, harvest crops, and transport our finished food to supermarkets, you might be surprised at how the cyclist’s carbon footprint can exceed that of someone in a small car who east less than him. Two people cycling along using energy from cheeseburgers is equivalent to those same people sharing a ride in an efficient car. At the ridiculous high end of the scale, however, getting your cycling calories by piling up your plate with asparagus that has been flown by air from the other side of the world. At 2.8kg per mile this is like driving a car that does six miles to the gallon (a shade over a mile per litre). You’d be better off in a Hummer.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          “a shade over a mile per litre”
          Mishmash UK; miles per litre, it had to happen.

          • Well for a long time we have been buying our fuel in litres. We still use miles, so the mixture of measurement systems is hardly my fault. It has been like this since about the 1970s. We have two systems running side by side and intertwined.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            “We have two systems running side by side and intertwined.”
            No one’s blaming you, Arthur for Britain’s Imperial-metric mishmash.
            A country needs just one efficient measurement system, not two. Especially two incompatible systems in use concurrently.
            At first only the artisans were inconvenienced, but went the suits had to confront the metric system, the change over came to a grinding halt.
            Worthy of a top 10 ranking on your, “Emigrate, reasons to” list.
            Jack, the Japan Alps Brit

          • Labour Mole Catcher

            “Japan Alps Brit” … why are so obsessed about the mixed measurements in the United Kingdom when you live in Japan, and for how many years, pray?! You might like to call yourself British for whatever bizarre reason, but it still has got nowt to do with you!

          • Labour Mole Catcher

            Talking about a mishmash, have you been checking the different sizes of your two dangling bits lately?!

        • poverty denier

          You worked that one out nicely.

    • Hamburger

      The EU see it otherwise. I guess that try are not engineers.

  • Molly NooNar

    Ah, the Spectator that told us that markets would solve the problems that environmentalists were concerned about. How naive you are. Were is the apology for the Green party and environmentalists for being vindicated once more?

    • Mr B J Mann

      Erm, the greens invented a problem:

      And the markets invented a solution!

      What not to like?!?!?!!!!

    • Peter

      Government incentives create a distorted market, not a free market.

  • PAT

    Greens will reduce us to riding horses one day. These limits are set by environmentalists and politicians with NO input from automotive engineers at all. The limits are almost unobtainable! Hence cheats.

    • PAT

      I am sorry, but the motor industry must unite and take these EPA’s etc and other unreasonable greens on. Ask them straight out do you want cars or not? Carry on like you are with your unreasonable CO2 limits and we will not have cars! I hate hybrids. Too many electronic goodies to cost a fortune to correct! I am not in favour of dishonesty, but these greens in governments forced VW into a corner!

    • Riding horses. I’d like to see the land area of the UK providing enough horses to transport 65 going on 80 million people AND feed the people too. The land area and productivity is only about enough to feed 30 million people anyway.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    All trucks burn diesel fuel and you’re getting excited about small engine passenger cars.

  • Mr Grumpy

    The “society made me do it” defence wheeled out on behalf of a multinational car manufacturer. Satire is dead.

  • Mr B J Mann

    It’s always the way!

    One of the “greens” arguments for “tackling” climate change is that even if they are wrong it will get rid of pollution and save the planet anyway.

    But as this “scandal” shows: concentrating on getting rid of CO2 means you ignore “real” problems, as would happen with carbon capture.

    Not that there is a real problem anyway.

    The way that these things work is that they find (guess?) the safe level, and then divide by a million to be on the safe side.

    But, if there is a real problem, it comes from buses and diesel trains, and the power stations that fuel “electric” trams and trains. Oh, and SHIPS!!!!!!!

    That’s what were actually blamed in the health studies that are misreported as blaming “traffic” and “transport” pollution, and came up with the figures for people dying from lung disease whose d3aths were HASTENED by said exhaust emission, NOT who were “k!lled” by it!

    And a contemporaneous study for the NHS reported that there weren’t any health, nor any environmental, reasons for restricting car use in cities!!

    Meanwhile how many “greens” cook on Agas and have wood burning stoves in the lounge?

    Oh, and drink naturally carbonated water, releasing CO2 that’s been trapped in the earth since prehistoric times?!?!?!!!!

  • Mr B J Mann

    The “scandal” is that the engines run in test mode as if they aren’t stuck behind buses at built out bus stops, crawling through traffic “calming”, waiting at a pelican where the pedestrian crossed ages ago or never intended to cross when they pushed the button, stopped at misphased lights, or following th occupants of advance cycle stop boxes.n or caught in a monthly mass cycling protest……

    That’s the real scandal: that the problems they complain about and legislate against are caused by the “greens”, and then made ever worse by them.

    But it’s everybody else who has to pay the price, in every sense, in every way, every time!!!!!!!!!

    • irina palm

      You sound rattled and totally bypassed by the advances made in technology. Twenty-five years ago a midrange automobile weighed around 800kg, now it weighs double that due to passenger safety features etc. Those very same two comparable cars consume the same amount of petrol. When will you understand that almost every single product developer/engineer on the planet is in fact committed to delivering a Green (yes, yes) outlook?

      • Mr B J Mann

        And you seem rattled and totaĺly bypassed what I wrote, dear!

        • explain that

          Likewise it would appear – where does that leave you?

          • Mr B J Mann

            Do TRY to keep up dear!

            You’ll find it helps if you actually bother to read the relevant sub thread, never mind related ones, before diving in with an irrelevant comment at the end!

  • Emperors Clothes

    The RHI incentives like many before them have major flaws. For instance do you think that an anaerobic digestion plant producing biomethane from a facility that has no planning permission and has been deemed unlawful should receive millions of taxpayer money in Incentives . Well they can , OFGEM have paid Crouchland biogas millions despite their operations being unlawful – OFGEMS response is planning permission is not a condition for receiving taxpayer money. So there you go the rules of this land are irrelevant and we can all go and get funding for unlawful operations. As if that’s not bad enough the green energy from this facility requires glycerol transported in by road from Europe & Scotland, acres of food quality land planted with maize just for the digester and thousands of HGV miles to export the gas. A major Gas company SGN is supporting this unlawful activity. Come on Amber Rudd/ DECC/ OFGEM this isn’t the Klondike – let’s have some proberty and respect for the law

  • Rob Harris

    VW adds value to raw materials, employs many
    thousands of people, provides us with reliable transportation and pays its
    taxes. In order to do so it has found it necessary to circumvent an arbitrary emission
    limit set by a bunch of posturing, self righteous bureaucrats. The bureaucrats are
    incapable of adding value to anything, they produce nothing, employ nobody and
    live off the taxes paid by the likes of VW.

  • Fudsdad

    With respect to the author, most of this is well known and understood by “climate change” sceptics. Unfortunately, government policy is in thrall to the green lobby.

  • evad666

    Can anyone advise the increase in Diesel Particulates when all the Wind Farm back up diesels kick in?

    • That’s not true. The Combined Gas Turbine systems kick in. There is barely any diesel used in generating power in the UK. It is strictly for temporary emergency use like in hospitals or server farms where you can not allow a power outage to cut off supply.

      • Steve Brown

        Have you had a look at the Government scheme to harness the power of thousands (yes, thousands) of diesel driven gerators? It is called STOR (Short Term Operating Reserve).
        A quote about STOR “For standby diesel generators, STOR is the largest incremental revenue opportunity, with the lowest relative impact on generator run hours and the lowest exposure to fuel price risk of any premium energy activity.

        Many big firms are making mega-money from the Government and the STOR scheme. https://www.flexitricity.com/en-gb/solutions/stor/

        • Like I said; “Diesel is used for emergency backup only”. What do you think standby means? When winter comes and chunks of the National Grid are lying on the ground, lareg diesel generators are shipped into affected areas. If you take a look at the only web page I know which shows us how our power is being delivered to the grid http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ you won’t see any diesel on it.

  • G B

    ‘That it has taken US authorities to sniff out the company’s cheating on emissions tests’. The Americans are at it themselves. No doubt most diesel engines suffer the same modification otherwise performance would be poor and nobody would want the products. The Americans are a bit p**sed with Germany right now, hence the timing of this disclosure. I have emailed VW and suggested that as the compensation could run into Billions they would be better off exposing the CO2 scam with that money. At least they would not be the only ones to be sacrificed on the altar of public opinion.

  • Steve Brown

    ” …a serious disaster like the one that struck the Fukushima plant in Japan after the 2011 tsunami”
    How many people did this so-called disater kill? Not one, that’s how serious it was and is.
    The Greens’ infatuation with the single compund CO2, has encouraged Governments world-wide to embrace anything which apparently reduces this “deadly” gas, ignoring any other effects which their polices might encourage.
    Firstly, CO2 is plant food and is in no way detrimental to the climate of this planet.
    Secondly, although the negative effects of the various emissions of diesel engines were well known when CO2 became the offender du jour, the influence exerted by the Greens persuaded various European Governments to lower taxes on both diesel cars and diesel fuels.
    They wilfully ignored everything which came from diesel exhaust apart from the magical, fatal gas, CO2 upon which the Greens had forced them to concentrate. Commercial concerns learned how to game the idiotic Governmental regulations, sold cars, kept people both in work and cheaply mobile.
    Now the harvest is being reaped by the various Governments.
    They’ll just ignore their resposibility, find new ways of taxing the emissions of all gasses, then, and only then, will we they just leave us all alone.

    • PAT

      Goverments. Tax hungry. Self enriching.

  • FF42

    A bit like saying theft is driven by a property obsession.

  • Coopercap

    I would be very interested to hear the evidence behind the claim that 29000 people in the UK die every year from NOx. Without denying that there is some problem I doubt there is a single death certificate which backs up the claim.

  • cecile10

    So lower carbon emissions aren’t worth aiming for? Regulators set the challenge and manufacturers respond. The fact VW [and possibly others] cheated to claim the lowest emissions is beside the point. The less our air is polluted with carbon the better.

  • All policy measures, especially one as far-reaching as decarbonising the economy, have upsides and downsides. The response of a mature policy-maker is not to say that a policy shouldn’t proceed because it has downsides, but to ask whether the upsides justify the downsides.

    We’re on a massive learning curve with decarbonisation and, guess what, sometimes there are going to be trade-offs and downsides to policies, and things which could be done better. Sometimes we won’t anticipate the downsides of a technology, we have to learn by doing. This is a complex problem and unexpected second-order effects are a routine technical issue in climate policy.

    Low carbon technologies should be assessed on their lifecycle emissions, for sure. The biomass transportation problem highlighted is not helped by the lack of political will to apply carbon prices to shipping.

    I like gannets as much as the next person, but an offshore windfarm is not going to wipe out the massive gannet population in Scotland, and animal populations are capable of adapting to infrastructure obstructing traditional movement patterns.

    btw, the VW scandal was not motivated by rigging CO2 tests, but NOx tests.

  • i Wee Wee

    81 pots for 81 days! #aiweiwei #iweewee #RoyalAcademy #Art #VWGate #emissions

    • Labour Mole Catcher

      What is it with China Trolls (with no sense of humour or irony) and their mad obsession with the dissidents?! Anyway (“Canbeanybody” from the Graun and “Zhanglan” from the DT), can’t you get Housing Benefit in Hong Kong, I take it?! Probably not!

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        “…with no sense of humour or irony”

        Now that really is ironic coming from you. The two-dimensional humourless rube with feet nailed to the Rochdale ground. Rochdale. Front runner for child-rape capital of UK.
        So where are vacationing this winter, Jock? Somewhere warm and white?

        • Labour-Mole Catcher

          Keep talking about it … we all know you are really impotent, and incontinent, and probably also sit on a wheelchair most time of the day … tell me, don’t you think that having to have your mother help you when you have to go to the toilet a little humiliating?!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “That it has taken US authorities to sniff out the company’s cheating on emissions tests doesn’t say much for European environmental law, which is good at telling us we can only have low-powered kettles, but apparently unable to sniff out high emissions from overpowered diesel cars.”
    You’ve got a point there, Ross.
    I ask myself, were those emission standards for diesel engine passenger cars unrealistic?

  • pat pat

    Accept when a tree decomposes on the forest floor it gives off methane which is 21 times more potent a greenhouse gas than the burned CO2. If sinking islands, droughts, extreme climate events and thousands of animal extinctions is your concern then better to burn the tree than let it rot. You would rather burn coal? What utter nonsense, most of our coal has also had to travel a long way by ship or worse its come overland. Then it has the huge density of carbon that has been locked away for 100s of 1000s of years and will take another 100,000 years to lock away again. Trees grow much quicker than coal. Yup, greenies priorities change, generally when new scientific evidence is presented, you might want to try the same.